Ayyappa Temple closes

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Pathanamthitta, Jan 20 (UNI) The Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala was closed today marking the culmination of two-month-long ''Mandalam-Makaravilakkau'' Pilgrimage Season.

The 'Guruthi' ritual to propitiate the 'Bhootha Gana' of Shiva was performed at the 'Malikappuram' Devi Temple last night.

Earlir, Melsanthy T K Krishnan Nampoothiri opened the sanctum sanctorum at 0645 hrs today to facilitate ''Darshan'' for Royal Representative of Pandalam Palace Thiruvathiranal Raghava Varma Raja.

The darshan by pilgrims was stopped just before the beginning of 'Athazha Pooja' yesterday.

The Royal representative had his exclusive darshan at 0700 hrs and the Melsanthy closed the sanctum sanctorum soon after and handed over the key along with a purse to the former who in turn gave them back to the Melsanthy.

Thereafter, the Royal representative climbed down the 18-sacred steps and started his return journey to Pandalam in a palanquin accompanying the ''Thiruvabharanam'' procession.

The Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple will be reopened for 'Poojas' in the Malayalam month of 'Kumbham' on February 12 at 1750 hrs.

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